Protecting your family is always a parent’s top priority. You cover electrical outlets with plastic covers and watch them while they run around on the playground. You’re always an extra step ahead when it comes to keeping your kids safe, but bacteria and viruses can still make them sick.
When one child gets the flu, it’s not long before it makes the rounds with every member of the family. If you’re looking for new ways to look out for your kids, it’s time to learn about extra efforts you can make to prevent illnesses.
Read these tips for keeping your family healthy all year long to get you through the next flu season. Whether you’re worried about a winter cold or summer fever, you can stay ahead of your family’s health needs with these simple steps.
1. Schedule Vaccination Appointments
Everyone should get a flu shot once a year in the fall, but kids have other vaccinations to keep up with as well. Call your pediatrician to discuss what will happen at your child’s next appointment. They’ll make sure your children are on track to avoid preventable illnesses and grow into happy, healthy adults.
2. Always Eat Breakfast
Tomorrow morning, make sure everyone sits down to eat breakfast. When kids get a nutritious meal, like scrambled eggs and oatmeal, they’ll feel energized and ready for the day. Part of that energy goes directly to their cells, which boosts their immune system if they’re eating healthy foods. Skip the sugary cereals and muffins and find new recipes to interest your children in fruits, whole grains and proteins.
3. Make Exercise Fun
The last time you asked your kids to play outside, did they groan about wanting to watch more TV? Exercise can seem boring if they do the same thing every day, so make it fun. Create dance competitions, hopscotch challenges or rollerblading races. While they run around, the activity strengthens their white blood cells and flushes out lingering bacteria in their airways.
4. Teach About Hand Washing
Kids want to explore and learn about the world, which means they get dirty more often than not. You’ve most likely already told them to wash their hands before they eat, but do they wash correctly? Gather everyone around the kitchen sink and demonstrate correct hand washing techniques so you know they’re clean before they touch their faces or eat finger foods.
5. Restructure Your Diet
Think about what you feed your family every day. Do you rely on boxed dinners and frozen meals? How your children eat affects how often they get sick. Healthy foods rich in vitamins and minerals improve the immune system by regulating the organisms in your gut.
You’ll also prevent your children from future health problems. Nearly 30% of adult obesity starts with eating junk food daily, which includes what you can buy at the grocery store. Structure your family’s diet around whole proteins and natural foods so they get the nutrition and fuel they need to stay healthy.
6. Explain About Healthy Sharing
Kids spend their childhood learning how to share because it’s a big part of successful socialization. However, they should also know when not to share. Sit down with your kids and explain how to share in healthy ways and when they should keep something to themselves.
For example, it’s great to give a friend your markers while you color, but it’s not smart to drink out of the same cup. You could even use this conversation to introduce them to the concept of germs if they’re old enough to understand the link between germs and getting sick.
7. Banish Household Allergens
Sometimes when a child exhibits symptoms like sneezing and a runny nose, it doesn’t mean they have a cold. Their body could be reacting to household allergens. Keeping a clean house is a great way to prevent allergens from gathering, like vacuuming every day.
You can also go a step further by using a dehumidifier to remove mold from areas like the bathroom or kitchen. Replace your air filters regularly so they trap allergens and dust mites before circulating air through your home. These extra efforts go a long way in the battle against microscopic allergens and bacteria.
8. Wash Their Toys
When they’re not in school or at after-school activities, most kids will play with their toys. Young children might rely on dolls and action figures, while older kids use video game consoles and tablets. Whatever your kids use during playtime, make sure you wash their toys regularly with appropriate cleaning methods.
Phones, dolls and building blocks are all prime environments for bacteria to grow if you don’t disinfect them. Wipe everything down or wash them often if your kids use them every day. Let them dry completely before handing them back for more playtime to ensure your kids don’t come into contact with sanitizers such as Clorox or Lysol.
Consider Your Routine
These tips can keep your family healthy all year long, so choose which ones to incorporate into your routine depending on your lifestyle. Your kids might already eat breakfast every day or you could have started washing their toys years ago. Try something new and make it into a habit so your family prevents as many year-round and seasonal illnesses as possible.